The California coastline is home to some of the most successful commercial shipping operations on the West Coast. Thousands of people enjoy competitive wages in the fishing industry. However, those wages come with significant risks for workers.
Federal data shows that professional fishing is one of the deadliest professions. Across all industries, those working for private employers face an annual on-the-job fatality rate of roughly four deaths per 100,000 workers. In the fishing industry, roughly 117 deaths occur per year for every 100,000 workers. According to federal industry safety data, two factors are largely responsible for the vast majority of these fatalities.
Sometimes, the people who own and operate a fishing company don’t properly maintain their fleet. Other times, company policy may have workers out on the water when the weather poses a significant danger.
Vehicle disasters may involve flooding, a large wave or vessel instability. More than half of fatal vessel incidents occur during severe weather.
Working on the open ocean comes with constant risk, and hundreds of fishermen have lost their lives because they have fallen overboard. Often, such fatalities occur when someone is not around other workers. Safety statistics indicate that none of the workers who have died from drowning after falling overboard had appropriate flotation devices on at the time of the incident.
Workers who are injured out on the ocean and family members of someone who died while fishing for work may have the right to seek compensation for their maritime loss. This process is more involved than a standard worker’s compensation claim that can help cover medical expenses and lost wages because of a maritime incident. Knowing the risks that lead to maritime injuries can help you protect yourself and seek appropriate conversation if a maritime incident affects your family.